COBWEB CORNERS: Our railroads
By Mel McFarland
Here in Colorado City there were four rail lines. Anyone know them? Over in Colorado Springs there were eight, and in Manitou seven. With the naming of the Midland Trail some folks in Colorado Springs got their history a bit muddied, which can easily happen. Today let us take a quick look.
The first railroad to Colorado Springs was the Denver and Rio Grande, General Palmer's railroad in 1871. Curiously, the second one originally did not intend to build to Colorado Springs. The Denver and New Orleans made a direction change while building southeast from Denver through the Black Forest. It then headed for Pueblo, passing well east of town. But in 1880 the railroad built to Colorado Springs from about where the airport is now. The Santa Fe came in about the same time, but it was using the tracks of the Rio Grande. A few years later the Santa Fe decided to build its own tracks.
When the idea of the Colorado Midland was being developed in the late 1880s, Colorado City was a natural home. The Santa Fe, a long rival to the Rio Grande, would own the Midland later. The Rock Island owners thought the Midland would be a great help, so they built to Colorado Springs to make a connection with the mountain road. The Rio Grande came under the ownership of a group that owned the Missouri Pacific, which had tracks to Pueblo. The Missouri Pacific ran trains into Denver over the Rio Grande. In 1901, the Colorado Springs and Cripple Creek District, known as the Short Line, was opened.
Here in Colorado City were the main shops of the Colorado Midland, which from 1918 until 1949 were used by the Midland Terminal. It ran along what is now the Midland Expressway from 21st to 26th. The Rio Grande had a line to Manitou just north of it. It lasted in Colorado City until about 10 years ago, with its route somehow being called the Midland Trail now. The Short Line ran on the hill toward Bear Creek Canyon before it went south on what is now called the Gold Camp Road.
Come back next week and I will fill in a few holes and straighten out some numbers.